Fire, rain make for bizarre Daytona 500
February 28, 2012 -- Updated 0915 GMT (1715 HKT)
The Daytona 500 is the opening race of the NASCAR season and the sport's most prestigious race. For the first time in its history, rain meant the race started one day later than planned on Monday.
Ring of fire
Leaving a mark
Out in front
- A massive fire delays the race for two hours
- Matt Kenseth claims the checkered flag
- The race was pushed back twice due to rain
- Four of the previous 53 races have been shortened
Daytona Beach, Florida (CNN) -- For a sport where speed is king, NASCAR's Daytona 500 this year was one long waiting game.
First, rain led race officials to pull the plug Sunday -- the first time in Daytona 500's history. Then, continuing showers led them to re-reschedule the start from noon to Monday evening.
When the race finally got underway, a massive fire with 40 laps to go red-flagged it for a couple more hours, pushing the race into a third day.
In the end, Matt Kenseth crossed the finish line about 1 a.m. Tuesday, claiming the 54th running of "The Great American Race."
Mitt Romney attends Daytona 500
Santorum gives advice to NASCAR driver
The Daytona 500 victory was the second for the driver, who edged out Dale Earnhardt Jr. and teammate Greg Biffle to take the checkered flag.
Those who made it to the end survived multiple accidents, including one on the second lap, and 10 caution flags.
Officials shut down the race for nearly two hours after Juan Pablo Montoya careened into the back of a jet dryer that was being used to blow debris off the track during a caution flag. Montoya's car, the jet dryer and the truck pulling it all burst into flames and also set a section of the track on fire.
Montoya said he had returned to the race track from pit row before the accident, after having the crew check out a vibration he was feeling in his car.
"I was in fourth gear. I wasn't even going that fast," Montoya told reporters. "It just felt really strange and ... the car just turned right."
Some 24 hours of intermittent rain forced Monday's prime-time start -- the first since the inaugural race in 1959.
Before this year, rain had cut short four of 53 previous races -- in 1965, 1966, 2003 and 2009 -- but none had been canceled for the day.
The Daytona 500 opens the NASCAR season, but it also is the sport's most prestigious race. Daytona International Speedway announced this month that the race will boast a record purse of more than $19 million. In comparison, last year's Indianapolis 500 had a payout of $13.5 million.
CNN's Tom Watkins and Dan Moriarty contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 1557 GMT (2357 HKT)
A rare interview with the Gerhard Noack, the man who spotted Vettel and Schumacher as young Kart racing drivers in Germany
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 1304 GMT (2104 HKT)
CNN's Amanda Davies travels to Sebastian Vettel's hometown of Heppenheim in Germany.
Relive the Formula One season as it progressed, circuit by circuit, race by race.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1417 GMT (2217 HKT)
Germany has only produced two Formula One champions -- and they can thank one man for spotting their nascent talent.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
Formula One's 83-year-old boss Bernie Ecclestone says Ferrari will have a big say in who replaces him -- but he's not going anywhere yet.
CNN's Amanda Davies travels to a small German town to discover the real Sebastian Vettel, F1's all-conquering champion.
December 4, 2013 -- Updated 1633 GMT (0033 HKT)
A new era of F1 looms large on the horizon in 2014, but what do the new rules mean for how we watch the sport? Get up to speed here.
November 28, 2013 -- Updated 1604 GMT (0004 HKT)
Red Bull's four time world champion Sebastian Vettel lifts the lid on life out in front of the pack.
November 17, 2013 -- Updated 2015 GMT (0415 HKT)
It is 5 a.m. on Sunday morning in Austin, Texas and the grid girls are already up and getting ready for the race.
November 12, 2013 -- Updated 1021 GMT (1821 HKT)
There are books -- and then there are books. This one has been six years in the making and it doesn't come cheap.
October 24, 2013 -- Updated 1716 GMT (0116 HKT)
CNN's Ben Wyatt explores the popularity of F1 in India and what the future might hold.
November 8, 2013 -- Updated 1610 GMT (0010 HKT)
How would you feel if your boss asked you to lose weight so you could carry on doing your job? That is the reality facing Formula One drivers.
October 17, 2013 -- Updated 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
Explore our interactive of one of F1's most important and complicated pieces of kit.
Kimi Raikkonen has long been box office gold, even before he re-signed with Ferrari for 2014, says CNN's Sarah Holt.
September 6, 2013 -- Updated 1627 GMT (0027 HKT)
Monza may be a long way from his birthplace in West Lothian, Scotland but Italy is unquestionably a home from home for Paul di Resta.
Today's five most popular stories